Asceticism and Enlightenment5
If one does not rest in this lifetime, then when would one rest? 此生不息息何時
One must understand that resting is also a part of this life. 息在今生共要知
The heart must rest, but without a deceitful thought. 心息只緣無妄想
One is at rest when deceitful thoughts are eliminated and the heart can rest. 妄除心息是休時
- Jikji, Volume 2 -
In this poem, the narrator discusses rest. The first sentence is in an interrogative form, but it is not simply seeking information. Rather it is a rhetorical question that conveys a strong command. The following lines reveal this commanding tone more clearly. In the second line, the poetic narrator emphasizes that everyone must understand that they need to rest in their current lifetimes. In lines three and four, the narrator gives advice on how to rest and what it means to rest, saying that rest is possible in the absence of deceitful thoughts. This poem shows that rhetorical questions were used to put forth strong arguments in instructional poems.
Source: Jeon, Jae-gang (2017)